Clean your room. Make your bed. Help with the laundry. Mow the lawn. For many families, chores are a part of daily life. While many feel that chores help teach children responsibility and important life skills, there are difference of opinions as to what chores are appropriate for children at different ages and whether children should receive an allowance (or other compensation) for helping around the house.
Our September Question of the Month asked if you assign chores to your children, what you consider age appropriate tasks and whether chores are tied to their allowance or other compensation. We were interested to see that every single reader who submitted a response indicated that their children are responsible for helping out. Over 24% said that their children have a strict list of chores that they are expected to do on a regular basis, and nearly 65% said they expect their children to pitch in and help when asked but don’t assign regular chores. The remaining 11% said their children are currently too young for chores, but indicated they will assign them as their children grow.
Our readers also shared feedback about age-appropriate chores and how they think children should be compensated:
Shelley D. of Guthrie, has a system for how her children earn money. “We work off a ‘commission’ concept that we learned from Dave Ramsey. Our kids have three main, age-appropriate chores each week that they're responsible for and if they don't do all of them, they don't get paid—just like the real world. They have a giving, spending and saving envelopes that they contribute to each week. They tend to spend more responsibly when it's their own money and we never have ‘PLEEEASE Mom!’ whining all the way through the store.”
For Marae B. of Midwest City, chores are an issue of personal responsibility. “Our policy is if you messed it up, you clean it up. We prefer to emphasize personal responsibility. If it is yours, you are responsible for the care and upkeep of it—their rooms, clothes, dishes, etc”.
Sherry C. of Oklahoma City does not pay her children for their household help. “Children should learn daily living responsibilities without expecting monetary rewards.”
Janet W. of Mustang ties allowance to household pride. “This is a family house, and every member of the family has things to do to keep our house running. We talk about how taking pride in our property and how maintaining it reflects pride in ourselves. I want my kids to realize that doing a ‘job’ well and to completion has monetary and non-monetary benefits.”
Elizabeth B. of Norman exchanges an allowance for fun. “My son has an obsession with putting change in his piggy bank, so when he does a good job helping out, picking up all his toys and such, he often gets spare change. I won't pay him for chores, but when he gets older and wants new toys or to go do things, I will have no problem giving him a little bit of money every now and then if he does as expected and helps out with things.”
More reader feedback coming soon!